Grigor Dimitrov: It always hurts. But here it is even more bitter

No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov lost 3:6, 6:7 (3) to Ilya Ivashka (Belarus) in his return to the Sofia Open. The match was from the second round of the Bulgarian ATP250 event.

Grigor, there were a lot of emotions. How did you feel today?

The feeling on the court had nothing to do with the game today, that’s for sure. Bad game for me. But I don’t want to be too negative about my game. Unfortunately, there have been some changes in recent weeks that I just had to try. Unfortunately, I didn’t even make it into the third set, which was even more disappointing for me. I had a lot of opportunities, I didn’t use them. In tennis, there are moments here and there that if you miss, it becomes much more difficult. Overall – I didn’t take advantage of every single moment I had.

That marathon game in which you could have made a break, did it turn out to be decisive the other way?

No, I also had opportunities in the tie-break, I made a few unforced errors. Then he served very well. So I couldn’t find any other option. Unfortunately.

You said changes that were necessary. What are the changes and what made them happen?

I don’t want to talk about them. I’m at the end of the year. I have a few more tournaments to play. I want to prepare in the best possible way, to finish the tournaments well by the end of the year. I wanted to try some things for myself.

Do you regret making those changes now, in Sofia? How much of a surprise is your behavior and play today regarding the coach releasing?

I’ve been in the Tour for quite a few years now and I’ve tried many things in much more difficult situations. There are certainly so many things that I need to fix in myself, in my game, physically. And like I said, I haven’t played enough games. I think this is one of the most important indicators that things inside me are out of order. That’s exactly why I’m trying to do something better. This has always been my goal and has driven me to be better. I don’t want to be sorry. I don’t want to accept this loss, but I have to. This is the sport. It always hurts. Wherever you play. But here it is even more bitter.

You said you have a few more tournaments left until the end of the season. Could you clarify what your schedule is? And the search for a new coach is oriented towards next season or for this one until the end of the year?

Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much time to talk about the coaching staff. Other things were in focus. I hope at the beginning of the new season we will think even more seriously and announce if we have a new person in the team. I’m not sure which tournaments I’ll be playing in until the end of the year. I certainly want to play maybe every week, but it depends on my daily state.

Are you planning to participate in Kazakhstan next week? And do you follow the performances of the other Bulgarian boys? They show growth, there are Bulgarian victories every day…

Yes of course I am interested. I watch their training, I watch their Challengers. Only one thing is important – health. I hope that every day there will be more victories from their side. I don’t know about the tournaments – I have to play for sure in Kazakhstan, but we are yet to talk about what we will do.

You had quite a few health problems, are they behind you? And will we have to wait another five years to see you again at the Sofia Open?

Oh, I hope not five years. I hope. The last weeks I feel better, I have more time on the court, more time in the gym. But for our sport, the most important thing is to play matches. The more matches you play, better you become. Because no matter how much you work, no matter how good I feel about myself, no matter how fit I am, if you don’t have matches, you don’t have security in shots, more short balls. Things are not going well. I hope that I will not only improve the service, but also things will go well.

Do you believe you still have a chance to win a Slam title?

There’s always a chance when you have a racket in your hand. There are sure to be many different winners. But I know that whenever I am well prepared, I feel good healthily, I have good matches and training behind me, I know that I always have a chance.